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Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change

Published on Nov 1, 2001in Nature 41.58
· DOI :10.1038/35102054
Martin Warren27
Estimated H-index: 27
(Butterfly Conservation),
Jane K. Hill54
Estimated H-index: 54
(University of York)
+ 12 AuthorsChris D. Thomas84
Estimated H-index: 84
(University of Leeds)
Abstract
Habitat degradation and climate change are thought to be altering the distributions and abundances of animals and plants throughout the world, but their combined impacts have not been assessed for any species assemblage1,2,3,4. Here we evaluated changes in the distribution sizes and abundances of 46 species of butterflies that approach their northern climatic range margins in Britain—where changes in climate and habitat are opposing forces. These insects might be expected to have responded positively to climate warming over the past 30 years, yet three-quarters of them declined: negative responses to habitat loss have outweighed positive responses to climate warming. Half of the species that were mobile and habitat generalists increased their distribution sites over this period (consistent with a climate explanation), whereas the other generalists and 89% of the habitat specialists declined in distribution size (consistent with habitat limitation). Changes in population abundances closely matched changes in distributions. The dual forces of habitat modification and climate change are likely to cause specialists to decline, leaving biological communities with reduced numbers of species and dominated by mobile and widespread habitat generalists.
  • References (27)
  • Citations (914)
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References27
Newest
Published on Jul 1, 2001in Ecology Letters 9.14
Jane K. Hill54
Estimated H-index: 54
(Durham University),
Yvonne C. Collingham23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Durham University)
+ 4 AuthorsBrian Huntley66
Estimated H-index: 66
(Durham University)
Since the 1940s, the distributions of several butterfly species have been expanding in northern Europe, probably in response to climate warming. We focus on the speckled wood butterfly Pararge aegeria in order to determine impacts of habitat availability on expansion rates. We analyse observed expansion rates since 1940 and also use a spatially explicit mechanistic model (MIGRATE) to simulate range expansion in two areas of the UK which differ in their distribution of breeding habitat (woodland)...
156 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2001in Biological Conservation 4.66
Dirk Maes27
Estimated H-index: 27
,
Hans Van Dyck36
Estimated H-index: 36
(University of Antwerp)
We illustrate the strong decrease in the number of butterfly species in Flanders (north Belgium) in the 20th century using data from a national butterfly mapping scheme. Nineteen of the 64 indigenous species went extinct and half of the remaining species are threatened at present. Flanders is shown to be the region with the highest number of extinct butterflies in Europe. More intensive agriculture practices and expansion of house and road building increased the extinction rate more than eightfo...
191 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 22, 2001
Chris D. Thomas84
Estimated H-index: 84
103 Citations
Published on May 1, 2001in Nature 41.58
Chris D. Thomas84
Estimated H-index: 84
(University of Leeds),
E.J. Bodsworth2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Leeds)
+ 4 AuthorsLarissa Conradt28
Estimated H-index: 28
(University of Leeds)
Many animals are regarded as relatively sedentary and specialized in marginal parts of their geographical distributions1,2. They are expected to be slow at colonizing new habitats. Despite this, the cool margins of many species’ distributions have expanded rapidly in association with recent climate warming3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. We examined four insect species that have expanded their geographical ranges in Britain over the past 20 years. Here we report that two butterfly species have increased the va...
686 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2001in Journal of Animal Ecology 4.46
Matthew J. R. Cowley8
Estimated H-index: 8
(University of Leeds),
Chris D. Thomas84
Estimated H-index: 84
(University of Leeds)
+ 7 AuthorsKevin J. Gaston121
Estimated H-index: 121
(University of Sheffield)
Summary 1 Positive relationships between the density and distribution of species in taxonomic assemblages are well documented, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Two factors that are expected to be important in explaining variation in these relationships are the spatial scale of analysis and the relative mobility of the study species. 2 We examined density–distribution relationships in British butterflies at a variety of spatial scales. Distributions were proportions of grid...
145 Citations Source Cite
Published on Mar 1, 2001in Journal of Animal Ecology 4.46
David B. Roy59
Estimated H-index: 59
,
Peter Rothery45
Estimated H-index: 45
+ 2 AuthorsJ. A. Thomas5
Estimated H-index: 5
Summary 1 The effect of weather on the size of British butterfly populations was studied using national weather records and the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (BMS), a national database that has measured butterfly abundance since 1976. 2 Strong associations between weather and population fluctuations and trends were found in 28 of 31 species studied. The main positive associations were with warm summer (especially June) temperature during the current and previous year, low rainfall in the current y...
228 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2001
J. Asher10
Estimated H-index: 10
1: Background and Rationale 2: Butterfly Habitats 3: Recording and Data Collection 4: Interpreting the Data 5: Species Accounts 6: The Pattern and Cause of Change 7: Conserving Butterflies in the New Millennium.
320 Citations
Published on Apr 1, 2000in Global Change Biology 9.00
David B. Roy59
Estimated H-index: 59
,
Tim H. Sparks59
Estimated H-index: 59
Summary Data from a national butterfly monitoring scheme were analysed to test for relationships between temperature and three phenological measures, duration of flight period and timing of both first and peak appearance. First appearances of most British butterflies has advanced in the last two decades and is strongly related to earlier peak appearance and, for multibrooded species, longer flight period. Mean dates of first and peak appearance are examined in relation to Manley's central Englan...
418 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 1, 2000in Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15.94
Lesley Hughes42
Estimated H-index: 42
(Macquarie University)
Abstract Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to have significant impacts on the world's climate on a timescale of decades to centuries. Evidence from long-term monitoring studies is now accumulating and suggests that the climate of the past few decades is anomalous compared with past climate variation, and that recent climatic and atmospheric trends are already affecting species physiology, distribution and phenology.
1,388 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 22, 2000
Chris D. Thomas84
Estimated H-index: 84
(University of Leeds)
Evolutionary and population dynamics models suggest that the migration rate will affect the probability of survival in fragmented landscapes. Using data for butterfly species in the fragmented British landscape and in immediately adjoining areas of the European continent, this paper shows that species of intermediate mobility have declined most, followed by those of low mobility, whereas high-mobility species are generally surviving well. Compared to the more sedentary species, species of interm...
295 Citations Source Cite
Cited By914
Newest
Published on Apr 3, 2019in Scientific Reports 4.12
Jan Christian Habel2
Estimated H-index: 2
(Technische Universität München),
Andreas Segerer1
Estimated H-index: 1
+ 1 AuthorsThomas Schmitt26
Estimated H-index: 26
(Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)
Species composition strongly depends on time, place and resources. In this context, semi-natural grasslands belong to the most species-rich habitats of Europe, and succession may eventually cause local extinction of typical grassland species, but conversely increase species richness due to habitat diversification. Here, we analyse potential effects of succession of calcareous grasslands on moths. Our studied community, assessed over three decades in south-eastern Germany, comprised >1000 species...
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Published on Apr 5, 2019in Scientific Reports 4.12
Sergi Herrando19
Estimated H-index: 19
(Catalan Ornithological Institute),
Nicolas Titeux (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ)+ 7 AuthorsConstantí Stefanescu22
Estimated H-index: 22
The climatic preferences of the species determine to a large extent their response to climate change. Temperature preferences have been shown to play a key role in driving trends in animal populations. However, the relative importance of temperature and precipitation preferences is still poorly understood, particularly in systems where ecological processes are strongly constrained by the amount and timing of rainfall. In this study, we estimated the role played by temperature and precipitation p...
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Published on Feb 7, 2019in Scientific Reports 4.12
Luca Pietro Casacci9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of Turin),
Karsten Schönrogge32
Estimated H-index: 32
+ 3 AuthorsFrancesca Barbero13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Turin)
In natural ecosystems, relationships between organisms are often characterised by high levels of complexity, where vulnerabilities in multi-trophic systems are difficult to identify, yet variation in specific community modules can be traceable. Within the complex community interactions, we can shed new light on dynamics by which co-evolutionary outcomes can inform science-led conservation. Here we assessed host-ant use in six populations of the butterfly Phengaris (=Maculinea) rebeli, an obligat...
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Published on May 29, 2018in Insect Science 2.09
Elisabeth Reim2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Greifswald),
Danny Eichhorn (University of Greifswald)+ 2 AuthorsKlaus Fischer34
Estimated H-index: 34
(University of Greifswald)
Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Biodiversity and Conservation 2.83
Pau Colom , David Carreras , Constantí Stefanescu22
Estimated H-index: 22
(Autonomous University of Barcelona)
A number of studies analysing the structure of butterfly communities on Mediterranean islands have confirmed the well-established pattern of a current decrease in species richness in island communities. However, these studies generally lack quantitative data on butterfly population densities across habitats and over time. This precludes testing the hypotheses of ecological release, niche expansion and density compensation in island populations and their links to the presence of fewer competitors...
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Published on Jun 1, 2019in Global Change Biology 9.00
Chris C. Nice26
Estimated H-index: 26
(Texas State University),
Matthew L. Forister22
Estimated H-index: 22
(University of Nevada, Reno)
+ 5 AuthorsArthur M. Shapiro26
Estimated H-index: 26
(University of California, Davis)
Author(s): Nice, Chris C; Forister, Matthew L; Harrison, Joshua G; Gompert, Zachariah; Fordyce, James A; Thorne, James H; Waetjen, David P; Shapiro, Arthur M | Abstract: Certain general facets of biotic response to climate change, such as shifts in phenology and geographic distribution, are well characterized, however, it is not clear whether the observed similarity of responses across taxa will extend to variation in other population-level processes. We examined population response to climatic ...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Biodiversity and Conservation 2.83
Elli Tzirkalli3
Estimated H-index: 3
(University of Ioannina),
Costas Kadis5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Frederick University)
+ 7 AuthorsVassiliki Kati20
Estimated H-index: 20
(University of Ioannina)
In this study we investigate the environmental factors influencing butterfly communities and evaluate the Natura 2000 network’s effectiveness in representing butterfly species richness and abundance, taking as a case study the island of Cyprus. We sampled butterflies and 11 environmental factors in 60 randomly selected sites across four 500-m elevation zones, representing seven habitat types. Rural mosaics and riverine vegetation were the habitats with the highest diversity of butterflies. Withi...
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Published on Jun 1, 2019in Global Change Biology 9.00
James R. Bell23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Rothamsted Research),
Marc S. Botham17
Estimated H-index: 17
+ 6 AuthorsStephen J. Thackeray18
Estimated H-index: 18
Global warming has advanced the timing of biological events, potentially leading to disruption across trophic levels. The potential importance of phenological change as a driver of population trends has been suggested. To fully understand the possible impacts, there is a need to quantify the scale of these changes spatially and according to habitat type. We studied the relationship between phenological trends, space and habitat type between 1965 and 2012 using an extensive UK dataset comprising ...
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